Sending a note of thanks a day or two after being treated to dinner clearly shows your appreciation for someone's effort and expense -- and might even increase your chance of being taken to dinner again in the future. Your note should share your appreciation for the dinner, as well as provide a couple examples of why you're appreciative and look forward to your next get-together with the person.
Use a Personal Greeting
Whether you've chosen to write your note on paper, a card or via email, write the recipient's name to give a personal touch to your message. Inc. magazine reports that in today's society of casual exchanges via email and text message, addressing someone properly is an effective way to begin a note. A greeting such as, "Dear David" provides class and starts your message the right way.
Get to the Point
Clearly express your thanks for the meal with the note's first couple sentences. Getting right to the point -- and not discussing matters unrelated to the meal -- is the proper way to write a note of thanks. Write a sentiment such as, "Thank you so much for the fancy dinner the other night. The meal and the company were absolutely top-notch," or "Sushi is my very favorite food, and your treat of dinner on the weekend was the highlight of my month -- thank you."
Highlight Key Reasons
Highlight one or more specific reasons that you appreciate being taken out for dinner. Anecdotes are an effective way to illustrate your gratitude and prevent your note of thanks from sounding generic. For example, thank the person for treating you to the meal as part of your birthday gift or express thanks to the person for picking your favorite restaurant. Use a phrase such as, "I've been so busy with work lately, so it was awesome to take a night off and enjoy my favorite restaurant with my best friend."
Sign Off Warmly
If appropriate, extend an offer of reciprocation. For example, write "Dinner next month is on me, and I've already got a restaurant in mind that you'll love." Otherwise, write a sentence that anticipates the next time you'll see each other. Conclude your note by reiterating your gratitude; for example, "I can't thank you enough for such a memorable evening." Close the note with a closing such as, "With thanks" or "Thanks again," before writing your name.